NHS workers vow to hold more strikes if pay demands are not met

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FURTHER strikes are being planned if the government does not give NHS workers a pay rise.

From midwives to radiographers, and oncologists to occupational therapists, NHS staff yesterday took part in a second four-hour walkout.

143341_STRIKE_24/11/14''Health workers and union officials on strike outside of St James' Hospital, Milton, Southsea. ''Health workers across the Portsmouth area today joined a second national stoppage over pay.''Picket lines were mounted across the area, including at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (1433341-305) PPP-141124-123604001

143341_STRIKE_24/11/14''Health workers and union officials on strike outside of St James' Hospital, Milton, Southsea. ''Health workers across the Portsmouth area today joined a second national stoppage over pay.''Picket lines were mounted across the area, including at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (1433341-305) PPP-141124-123604001

Health workers across the Portsmouth area joined a second national stoppage over pay.

Picket lines were held across the area, including at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, and St James’ Hospital in Milton.

Caroline Bunnie, 35, an oncology research nurse at QA, said: ‘I have been a nurse for 12 years and we are working longer hours.

‘The biggest bone of contention is MPs are having their 11-per-cent pay rise, but they are rejecting our pay review suggestion of one per cent.

‘Even one per cent is insulting – nurse registration fees have gone up from £76 to £120 in the past two years.

‘The MPs should be ashamed of themselves as this is disgraceful.

‘If we are not listened to then action will be taken right up until the general election.’

The first set of walkouts took place last month.

The dispute comes as an independent NHS pay review body recommended a one-per-cent pay rise for all but this was rejected by the government.

Unions are now calling for that pay rise to be implemented, even more so as MPs awarded themselves an 11-per-cent increase after a recommendation from its independent pay body review.

NHS workers also said they are carrying out more duties and working longer hours.

Caroline Mountain, an occupational therapist, said: ‘I have been in this role for 20 years and we are doing a lot more management work than before, but this isn’t being reflected in our pay.’

Yesterday’s strike lasted from 7am to 11am, and will now be followed by six days of action short of strike action until Sunday, when members will work to rule and not do any unpaid overtime.

Jenny Ford, branch secretary of the health branch of Portsmouth Unison, said: ‘The NHS has not had a pay rise in five years and we’re asking for one per cent.

‘We’re going on strike throughout the nation to show the government that we are against the austerity measures, that they are devaluing the NHS and we think we have earned the pay rise.

‘Where’s the MPs’ austerity measures?

‘Why did they accept their pay rise?

‘We will also be looking at our terms and conditions.’